to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Lent, day 37: Further Up, Further In

The third thing I am learning from Colossians is to appreciate where I am rather than to worry about getting to where I am going. As I’ve noted before, Colossians speaks of our salvation using the past tense; it is an accomplished fact. We are transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son and our life is hid with Christ in God; we have died and have been raised. My responsibility is not to get to heaven; my responsibility is to discover the heaven where I’ve been placed. Mysteriously, this discovery starts now, here on earth. But it will not end here; it may never end, even when we appear with him in glory (Col 3:4). Since we are in hidden away in God, it is divine eternity we are now free to discover.

C. S. Lewis captures this well, both in his fable The Great Divorce and in the Chronicles of Narnia. In both books, heaven is an inexhaustible country where instead of traveling to its far reaches, one travels in, toward its center. The more one travels toward the center of heaven, the more real one becomes and the more real reality is, more beautiful, more substantive, more. Paradoxically, while one always makes progress, one never finishes coming to the center. That is our journey into God; we are grow constantly closer to him and in him, and yet, because he is eternal, we never finish discovering him. It is always, as the Narnians say, further up and further in.

This is the joy of our faith; we are already there and yet the journey has only just begun.


Jared Cramer said...

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but I thought it a good articulation of Lewis' view on this question (and, unsurprisingly, the view I hold).

Ron Cox said...

Jared - thanks for the link. It's excellent. I am struck by this sense of purgatory and its value for our lives now. (Dante's second volume is my favorite of the Divien Comedy).

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